Are you seeing His Fruit?

HS fruitsBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have the Holy Spirit living within me. Scripture is filled with references to His indwelling Holy Spirit. We receive His Holy Spirit when we believe in Jesus.  It is His Holy Spirit within us that gives us hope, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  These are called the fruits of His Spirit living within us.  When we see these character traits being manifested in our lives, we know He is at work within us.

Here are some assurances from God’s Word about this amazing Holy Spirit that lives within each believer:  Ephesians 3:16 “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”  His Spirit with gives us power for living!     2 Corinthians 1:22 “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”  His Spirit is a seal and guarantee of our salvation in JesusGalatians 4:6 “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  His Spirit declares our sonship and allows us to call God our Father or Daddy.    1 John 4:13 “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”  His Spirit helps us to stay connected to Jesus.   Romans 8:11 “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”   His Spirit gives us a His spirit to be with us forever.

1 John 4 13Belief in Jesus and His work on the cross brings the Holy Spirit into our lives.  Rejoice in that hope today and look for His indwelling work within you.  He is there-alive and working in you!  He gives us the power to resist sin, stay connected to the Father and guarantees results.  His fruit is eternal and always for our good and His glory!

Linda

HS pearSuggestionToday- look for His fruit in your lifepeace where you might not have thought, patience where you usually would be impatient, joy where you did not expect it, a reaction to a situation with kindness, a deed unexpectedly done, a gentle touch or word to another, a trust in God that is unexpected but natural, showing self-restraint exactly when it is called for- any of these are the working of the Holy Spirit within you.  Rejoice and give Glory to God.

Where do you need hope? Jesus has it.

hope as long asBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have hope.  One of the most precious things we possess in Christ is our eternal hope in God and His power to transform and use us to do His work.   Romans 5:1-2 gives us a list of God’s provision that results in hope for us.  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith (declared not guilt of our sins), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  Our hope in Jesus brings us freedom from sin’s guilt and punishment, peace, grace, and joy.  Oh! glorious 1 peter 1 21HOPE!   This same theme is repeated in 1 Peter 1:21 “Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.”   Because of Christ and His work on the cross,  we can know and trust God and our faith in Christ brings Him glory and us HOPE!

Where do you need the HOPE of Christ in your life today?  Are you feeling burdened by sin’s guilt? Give it to Jesus with a repentant heart and He will replace that guilt with hope.  Are you struggling with doubt or difficult circumstances? Give it to Jesus and He will replace it with peace which He gives freely bringing you hope. (John 14:27) Are you struggling as you feel alone or singled out?  Ponder God’s grace, His undeserved favor, and know that He promises His grace is sufficient for all our needs. (2 Corinthians 12:9) His grace will bring you hope.  Are you suffering from lack of joy?  Ask Jesus to restore the joy of your salvation and those thoughts of eternal rest and refuge with Him will bring you joy.     David knew the struggles of life and reminds us in Psalm 43:5              hope_in_god_by_blugi-d90ilc0 “Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
 I will praise him again
   my Savior and my God!

May you Hope abound as you put your trust in God and firmly place your gaze upon Jesus.

Linda

SuggestionPass on the hope of Jesus todayforgive someone you have been holding something against, be a voice of peace, calm or joy to someone, or be gracious to someone today (giving them undeserved favor in your eyes).  The look of hope you see in their eyes will bring joy to you and give God glory.

Which attitudes are you ‘Be-ing’?

blessed2The longest list of blessings for the blessed man/woman is in Matthew.  They are commonly known as the BeatitudesEach one points to a blessing from God that will come to the person who lives a life of faith.   Reflect as you read each one and ask yourself- which of these do I see evidences of in my life?  Remember that blessed means-a gift of divine favor, happiness or something that will prevent misfortune.   Matthew 5:3-10

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.   (This refers to being humble- a blessed attitude,  not proud or arrogant)

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (This mourning is over our sins, and we are comforted in our salvation and redemption by Jesus.  Mourning or sadness will also be comforted by God.) 

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Here again our meekness is before God, as in humility.)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (I know this one to be true in my own life.  Studying God’s Word creates a hunger within me that only He can satisfy.  I pray that others will be blessed with this same hunger and receive the satisfaction only God can give.)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (This is promised compassion or mercy when we give or act mercifully.  God’s Kingdom does not operate the same way the world does and in His kingdom showing compassion or mercy will be returned in kind.  This is a wonderful assurance to believers.)

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Those who have clean hearts and attitudes will be able to see God, know God and walk with Him daily.  David prayed in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  God desires us to have an attitude of holiness, purity and cleanness in our hearts so we can see Him clearly.)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (This applies to all believers as through Christ we are adopted into God’s family and are His sons and daughters.  Through our redemption, we are made peacemakers as ones who love Jesus and desire others to have His peace too.)

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Because of our faith in Jesus, the world will persecute us.  John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”  As believers we are encouraged by the conclusion of this verse-ours is the kingdom of heaven. Praise God!)

DBonfofferWhich resonated with you today?  Thank God for His gift of divine favor and presence in your life!

Linda

God’s Blessings effect our ENTIRE Life!

Psalm-128Psalm 128 gives a summary of blessedness for the believer who follows God and clings to Him in the midst of a sinful world.  The list of blessings is not all inclusive nor does it mean that because we do not experience these blessings something is wrong.  Rather, the believer can rest assured that God will bless him/her.  A truth that is seen throughout the Bible is that God blesses His people.  Faith brings blessings.

128     Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,      The believer is gifted by God      who walks in his ways!                                                as he walks with him each day.              

 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
    you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.       Your work is blessed.

 

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.                                              Your home and family are blessed.

Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
    who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you from Zion!
    May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life!                                     Your city and nation are blessed.
May you see your children’s children!            Your life will be long 
    Peace be upon Israel!                                                    and filled with peace.

God blesses us each day as we walk with Him.  The blessings will look differently for each one of us but the truth of this psalm is that God’s blessings effect our entire life.  From our selves to our work to our home to our city and nation.   He blesses in all areas of our life and desires that we make an impact on those around us for the sake of the gospel.  Paul summarizes his reasons for work and ministry in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share blessingswith them in its blessings.

As you walk with the Lord today, look for His blessings in your life.  Seek to share God’s blessings with others so they may come to know your Savior and seek Him too.

Linda

Got Blessings? Are you willing to follow and listen?

When I began this series on being blessed and what it means, I started with the definition of blessed.  Being blessed is receiving a gift of divine favor, receiving good wishes or approval or receiving anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune.  Today’s scripture in Psalm 94:12 emphasizes the receiving of happiness and stopping of misfortune which results from being open to God’s instruction and discipline.  Psalm 94:8-13  is a bit longer in the Amplified version, it brings clarity to the passage.

Consider thoughtfully, you senseless (stupid ones) among the people;
And you [dull-minded] fools, when will you become wise and understand?

psalm 94 12He who made the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
10 
He who instructs the nations,
Does He not rebuke and punish,
He who teaches man knowledge?
11 
The Lord knows the thoughts of man,
That they are a mere breath (vain, empty, futile).

12 
Blessed [with wisdom and prosperity] is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord,
And whom You teach from Your law,
13 
That You may grant him [power to calm himself and find] peace in the days of adversity,
Until the pit is dug for the wicked and ungodly.

The psalmist asks us to consider God and what He has done and what He knows. God can and does bless the one who follows His teachings, accepts His correction and direction and pays attention to the details of His Word.   The blessing comes when one follows God’s Word and finds God’s peace in the troubled times in which we live.

blessings-quoteHave you experienced God’s blessing of wisdom and success in your life?  Did the greatest blessings come when you followed His Word and walked with Him?  Was it a peace-filled time even though the world’s circumstances were in turmoil around you? According to scripture, you have been blessed.  The psalmist felt that way and finished this psalm in verses 23-24 with total dependence and trust in God and His power to defend and vanquish all his foes.

But the Lord has become my high tower and defense,
And my God the rock of my refuge.
23 
He has turned back their own wickedness upon them
And will destroy them by means of their own evil;
The Lord our God will wipe them out.

May you cling to Jesus today and trust Him to bless, guide and defend you as you walk with Him.

Linda

What’s in a Word?

Have you ever thought of having a Word for the year?  I had not done this until last year.  I was asked to choose a word for the year and then a Bible verse or verses to support me in that focus.  I prayed and asked God to give me a word to focus upon for 2018 and He gave me Hope.  I was amazed at how many times this word appeared in my study, my thoughts, my writing, etc.  Each time it would reassure me of His Hope that is within me and how all my hope is in Christ.  There were various verses I relied upon and you’d be amazed at how many times they appeared in my daily walk.   I did not focus on hope until spring as something I was doing required that I choose a word for the year.  Interestingly enough, God already had prepared me as my January 1 blog used Lamentations 3:21-22 which focused on hope.   I also used Jeremiah 29:11 and 1 Peter 3:15.    For 2019, I have chosen Trust as my word.  Right now I’m going through some things that required that I Trust in Him more than ever and not the world, things or people around me.  The verses I’ve chosen are Psalm 37:5 and Nahum 1:7. 

gods-word-personal2If you think this might help your focus for the year, pray and ask God to reveal to you a focus word for 2019.  Here are some suggestions and possible verses to support your word:

Joy- Psalm 16:11, Psalm 63:7, Habakkuk 3:18 or James 1:2

Hope–  Psalm 62:5, Psalm 147:11, Jeremiah 29:11, Lamentations 3:21-22, Romans 5:4-5 or 1 Timothy 4:10

Trust- Psalm 28:7, Psalm 31:14, Psalm 37:5, Proverbs 3:5-6 or  Jeremiah 17:7

Grace– John 1:16-17, Romans 3:24, 2 Corinthians 12:9, or Ephesians 1:7

Peace- Isaiah 26:3, Matthew 5:9, John 14:27 or Philippians 4:7.

god-ideas_guide-delightGod,  in His great providence, gives us so many resources to help us walk with Him in faith.  All His words,  we are reminded in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 are useful to us. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  I pray that choosing a word will give you focus and support in the year ahead.  We desire to live for Him and as we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

May you have a blessed year filled with His Words!

Linda

The Righteous King Arrives

The next prophecy used by Handel in the Messiah was in Zechariah 9:9-10.  He only uses a portion of these verses in the script.

Zechariah 9 9“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
    and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
    and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

These words point to Jesus’ coming at a special time.  This is just before the cross and Jesus enters Jerusalem mounted on a donkey.  The people praised Him that Palm Sunday waving branches as they sang His praises.  Matthew 21:7-9 “They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting,  “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”  Zechariah’s words were given hundreds of years before and Jesus fulfilled them exactly!  Zechariah also says that He will be righteous, coming to save and bringing peace to all nations that seek Him.  We see those completely fulfilled in Jesus’ life.   He came as the righteous Lord, Psalm 145:17 “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.”.   He came to bring righteousness to us, 1 Corinthians 1:30 “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”  He came to bring peace.  John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  Those that seek Him do not go away empty handed nor empty hearted.

Rejoice today in the righteousness of God, His Peace and  Jesus’ righteousness imparted to you and me to save us from our sins.

Linda

I AM your Peace

This name for God comes out of Gideon’s mouth after his encounter with Sovereign God.  The Midianites had been ravaging the land and the Israelites were living in fear.  They had been worshiping other gods and God was not pleased.  God appeared to Gideon and called him to lead the people.  Gideon asked for a sign that the LORD was really calling him.  So the angel said he would wait while Gideon prepared a meal offering for him.  When Gideon brought the food, the angel instructed him to take the meat and unleavened bread and place it on a rock and pour out the broth.  Gideon did as the LORD asked.  Then the angel touched the food with his staff and fire flared from the rock and consumed the food.  22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And shalomGideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is  Peace Judges 6:22-24

Is the Lord your peace?  Gideon discovered that God could bring him peace in the oppressed and fearful situation in which he found himself.  God could replace his fear with peace.  God encouraged Gideon  to trust him for life and turn away from fear.  God did it for Gideon those centuries ago and He can do it for you and me today.  Claim God peaceas your peace.  Jesus promised in John 14:27 “ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  Take Him at His Word and step out in faith today leaving your fears at His feet.

Courage comes from knowing Jesus,

Linda

 

A Transformed Heart is filled with….joy and peace!

So far in this study of ‘heart’ passages, we’ve looked at the Lord’s work and the true nature of our hearts.  Today I want to begin examining passages that speak of a transformed heart.  What makes a heart committed to Jesus different from one that is not?  

In Romans 12:1-2 Paul speaks of what a transformed life would look like.  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”    Paul describes the believer as one who is sold out for God, desiring to please Him,  being transformed by God and not brought down and conformed to this world.  One that is transformed would have a changed heart.  That heart change is what we will be looking at in the next few blogs.

glad and sincereThe New Testament believers lived together supporting one another in their new faith.  Acts 2:46 describes them.  “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,”   Their encounter with Jesus reflected on their day to day life and gave them glad and generous hearts to view their world.  Does your faith create in you a sense of thankfulness?  Are you filled with Joy simply john 14 27because you know Jesus?

In John 14:27 Jesus was speaking to his disciples shortly before facing the cross.  He described the kind of heart the He would give to them in faith. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”    A heart that loves and follows Jesus has no reason for fear or anxiety.  1 John 4:4 reminds us, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”  The heart Jesus gives us is made for peace, loves peace and seeks peace.   Do you have the peace that Jesus promised today?  Look to Him, release all your worries and fears into His hands.  He will give you His peace.

Take a few moments to think about your heart today.  Do you feel generous and glad  in heart because of Jesus?  Do you have His peace in your heart?  Be assured He intends for you to have a heart that is overflowing in all areas.  I love  the assurance of Hebrews Peace-In-Your-Heart10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”  Jesus keeps His promises.  Trust Him to give you generosity, joy and peace today.

My heart is new in Jesus each day,

Linda

Faith=treasure, truth, peace and knowledge of God

care-trustAs the psalmist nears the end of his lengthy outpouring of praises and petitions to God in Psalm 119:161-168, he lays bare before God his struggles with persecutors.  He relies upon God’s Word and character to uphold him.  Powerful people harass me without cause,  but my heart trembles only at your word.   I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.“(161-2)  He knows that God’s Word contains power to overcome and sustain.  He considers it a treasure.  He also discovered that as he called upon God throughout the day he received peace and had strength to face the tough circumstances he encountered. ” I will praise you seven times a day because all your regulations are just.  Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble. (164-5)  The psalmist concludes with what he knows about God.  He is the one who saves.  I long for your rescue, Lordso I have obeyed your commands.” (166)   God knows him intimately and loves his obedience. Yes, I obey your commandments and laws  because you know everything I do.” (168)  

Is God’s Word a treasure for you? Do you gain power to overcome by reading and meditating upon it’s truths?  Do you pray throughout the day reminding yourself of the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit?  Do you find peace? Do you obey and trust God because you know His character?  Do you know that He knows you personally?   Can you join the psalmist in obedience to God’s Word because of who He is and what He does?  The psalmist trusted God in all things and called upon Him throughout his day in faith.  Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 and 6 “Faith shows the reality of faith tells mewhat we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”  “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”   Making God real involves faith in who He is and what He has done for us in Jesus.  Pleasing God involves seeking Him and accepting the gift of faith in Jesus.  He promises sincere seeking will be rewarded by faith.

Walking by faith in God and His Word is the psalmists answer to life’s problems, may it be mine also.

Linda